Banjica

  
  - darkometer rating:  6 -

A small museum in Belgrade commemorating one of Nazi Germany's concentration camps in the Balkans during the occupation of Serbia in WWII from June 1941.
 
The "camp" was actually an army barracks that was taken over by the Germans. Today the rest of the huge complex is again a barracks and military academy.
 
Some 24,000 prisoners are believed to have passed through the camp during WWII … at least according to the official records,. But there may have been many more that went unaccounted for. These included Serbian political prisoners and resistance fighters, but also Jews and Roma. Many were eventually sent on to other camps, but over 4000 were executed here or at the village of Jajinci just outside the city. The camp was closed in September 1944, shortly before the Germans' withdrawal and the liberation of Belgrade.
 
The first museum at the site was opened in 1969, changed and enlarged in 1983 and again in 2001, since when the present permanent exhibition has been in place. It's run under the umbrella of the Belgrade City Museum. The exhibition is said to comprise of a collection of artefacts such as personal belongings, handicrafts made by prisoners, documents, photographs and a scale model of the camp as it used to look. And a particular feature of the museum is supposedly a reconstruction of a prisoners' room showing the gruesome living conditions they had to endure, including an isolation cell as well.
   
The place is certainly a major item on a dark tourist's itinerary in Belgrade – but unfortunately I was not able to see it with my own eyes when I was there in spring 2011. Despite the fact that according to the published opening times it should have been open when I went there it turned out it was not. I also tried to phone the number given on the museum's leaflet, but there was no answer. I therefore recommend that prospective visitors enquire further ahead of time before doing like I did and just going and then finding yourself locked out in this way-out location. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone: 011-3674-877.
 
The "official" opening times are: Tuesday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 
Admission: 100 RSD (concession 50 RSD, groups 80 RSD)
 
Guided tours are said to be available in English (it might be advisable to check this in advance too). Group visits can also be arranged on other days of the week by prior appointment.
 
Location: quite a bit out of the city centre in the southern Belgrade suburb of the same name, Banjica, on 33 Pavla Jurasica Sturma (formerly Veljko Lukica Kurjaka street – as which it is also still marked on Google maps!). To get there from the city centre, take trolleybus No. 41, which starts at Studentski Trg and goes down Kneza Milosa past the principal NATO bombing scars and on past the Tito mausoleum & museum complex. Get off at the intersection of Neznanog Junaka and Pavla Jurisica Sturma and walk up the latter for ca. two blocks. The entrance to the museum is on the right just beyond that to the army complex behind it, i.e. you don't have to report at the gate there, just proceed to the museum's own separate entrance by the road.
    
Google maps locator: [44.7713,20.4671]
   
 
 
 
 

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